More than 100 scientists will begin cutting-edge research into renewable energy technology at a new €15m research lab which is due to open in Cork harbour within months.
And it has been predicted the new Beaufort Centre in Ringaskiddy will act as a lightning rod for job creation over the coming years.
Communications Minister Alex White will perform the topping-off ceremony at the facility today.
More than 200 people have been involved in its construction, which should be finished by July, fuelling hopes that up to 135 full-time researchers could be working there before the end of the year.
Led by University College Cork, the Beaufort lab will be a flagship element in the Irish Maritime and Energy Resource Cluster in Cork harbour.
The building, named after the Irish hydrographer, Rear Admiral Francis Beaufort, who developed the Beaufort Scale for measuring wind speed, will house the Marine Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI) SFI Research Centre, which was announced by Labour Minister Seán Sherlock, in his previous role as research and innovation minister.
MaREI currently supports 77 highly skilled jobs — people working in energy, marine technology, software and hardware companies which are investing some €10m in various projects which will prepare ocean technologies for the global market by removing technical and commercial barriers.
“It will directly create companies and jobs, thereby serving as a catalyst for Ireland to establish a safe, sustainable and profitable energy supply for domestic use and for export,” Mr Sherlock said.
“The entire centre at Beaufort will act as a lightning rod for job creation and act as a stimulant for the entire harbour area.”
The industry-academia research cluster in Ringaskiddy includes more than 45 industry partners, including Bord Gáis Energy, ESB Energy International, Intel, Siemens, DePuy, many other global market leaders working in the areas of energy, marine technology, software and hardware.
Academic partners include lead partner UCC along with University College Dublin, Cork IT, University of Limerick, NUI Galway, NUI Maynooth, Marine Institute and Teagasc.
As well as touring the almost complete Beaufort Centre today, Minister White will also open the first MaREI Industry Open Day at the National Maritime College of Ireland.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved